The Edmonton, Dunvegan and British Columbia Railway (EDBC) started construction of a railroad to connect the Peace River country to Edmonton in the years before the First World War. The EDBC reached Judah Hill, which overlooks the Peace River, in October 1915. The first train reached Peace River Crossing and Grande Prairie in 1916. Another branch of the railroad reached Spirit River in December 1916 when all construction of new railroad lines ended. The war effort diverted steel rail to Europe, making the construction of the rest of the railway impossible. As men enlisted, the EDBC did not have the labour needed to maintain the lines.
Many young men from the Peace River enlisted during the years of the First World War, and homesteads were abandoned. The reduced freight and passenger service on the EDBC caused it to be unprofitable. By 1920, the Alberta government and the Canadian Pacific Railway (CPR) took over the EDBC. In 1930, the EDBC and the Alberta Great Waterways and the Pembina Valley Railway were merged to form the Northern Alberta Railways (NAR), which was owned by the CPR and Canadian National (CN). In 1980, the CPR sold its share of the NAR to CN.
The Pacific Great Eastern (PGE) railroad was complete in 1958, connecting Squamish and Chetwynd, and bringing the first railroad link between the Peace River country and the Pacific Coast. Tracks were extended later to North Vancouver and Fort Nelson.
These railroads continued to play an important role in transporting lumber, coal, petroleum, and grain from the Peace country to the markets.